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  • Writer's pictureMona Cooley

Talking About Vulnerability And Shame

“Vulnerability is the birth place of innovation, creativity and change,” according to Brene Brown. Think about this statement. Innovation happens through struggle – who do you know who has struggled with mental health, suicide, being homeless, etc. and turned their lives around by starting an organization to help others so they get the help they need? I know of several organizations that got their start this way, such as:

Thumbs Up Foundation –

Feel free to click on the links to learn how these innovative, creative individuals decided how to change their struggle by making a difference for others. These individuals stood up, sharing their stories so they can help others. They let go of being silent because that does not change anything and in fact, it makes it worse. They decided to do something about what is needed so others don’t suffer. Everyone learns from others through their lived experiences. Hell, we all have had struggles in our life, made mistakes, had guilt and felt shame, but turning these struggles around by sharing how you have worked through these painful times, rising strong, and having others believe they can get through these trying times is worth sharing.

My message to all of you reading this blog is the following: I am encouraging you to share your struggle with someone you trust, and when you hear someone struggling with something similar to you say – me too. Give them hope and tell them what you did to work through it and let them understand where you are at today. With the economy a mess, struggles with family heartbreak or overtaxed by City Council, we need to talk to each other – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The relief you get when you share your struggle will lift you up, not down. I know personally that sharing our struggles right from the beginning of hauling our daughter to the hospital kicked shame and guilt out the door and the best outcome is having others say thank you for your help and your story. You can help others when you have worked through your struggles. Take care of you first so you have the capacity to be able to help others.

Shame is at the root of bullying, addiction, depression and more. Secrecy, silence and judgement keeps shame alive. Empathy is the antidote to shame. Vulnerability is not weakness; instead vulnerability is having the courage to have honest conversations. Having the courage to share what you feel, think and letting go of the silence, secrecy and judgement does not give shame a chance to stay alive.

Brene Brown stated, “Shame is an epidemic.” Let’s stand together, share our stories, help each other to get the relief everyone is desperately needing and kick shame out of our lives. If you want to listen to Brene share on this topic, go to her Ted Talk on Shame. I admire Brene for her vulnerability of sharing her struggles with millions of people because that allowed for everyone of us to receive the gift of what to do with our struggles.

When I see families working through their struggles, having honest conversations and feeling hopeful about the future, my heart sings!!!!

What is your story?

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